Sunday, December 13, 2009

More questions than answers

The Christmas tree is finally up and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. I just hope that Santa will get her act together and get the presents bought!

This year is producing a whole slew of questions from Annabel about Christmas. I feel very unprepared because I cannot even remember why we have a Christmas tree among others.

This morning on the way to church, I think Grace must have asked me a question for each rotation of the tires. Among those were how do you get a license plate? How do they make them? How do they know which is your number? How do they keep from giving people the same numbers? All I could think of was that I thought prisoners made them but did not have time to answer before I was asked several more.

I made one big mistake this weekend. I watched 48 Hours Investigates last night.

The story focused on adoptions from Samoa that were a scam.

If one set of adoptive parents had not started asking question, I guess it would have continued, although the Samoan authorities did investigate after a baby died from malnutrition in the adoption agency's "foster" home.

The family that started asking questions was prompted to do so after their daughter began to talk at length about her family, including where each person slept. She never mentioned being in the "foster" house, just about her home and family.

This child had basically been "taken" from her parents after they were led to believe that she was going to a "foster" family in the US until she was 18 to provide her an education. Then she would return to Samoa.

Recently a friend told me she was glad my daughters were older when I adopted them so she did not have to worry that they had been stolen babies. She knew that their stories were legit.

But after seeing this story I have felt shaken up.

Many of these children were older, not 11 years old, but 3-5 years old.

Grace and Annabel only have memories of their foster families. It worries me that their "foster" families might have been part of their biological family. I know they weren't as each set of parents have fostered lots of other children too, but still I have found myself doubting.

I think what disturbed me the most was the family who decided to return their daughter to her Samoan family. She was so comfortable there and loved being with this huge extended family that all lived together. She adapted so quickly to their lifestyle and just as quickly, forgot how to speak English. She was more than willing to give up the "American" lifestyle just to be with her biological family. Obviously possessions don't provide the basis for a long term relationship. Another family took their daughter to visit and she was very sad about leaving her Samoan family to return to the US.

The third family was refusing to acknowledge the Samoan family.

Many have told me how fortunate my girls are to be here. But what if they decide they are not fortunate. I've always felt like I was the fortunate one.

But I wonder, are there inherent qualities that make you part of your biological family? Or your nationality? Or your ethnicity?

Was I wrong to take them from the only family they knew?

I know the facts and I quote them often.

If a child is not adopted by the age of 14, they are basically on their own. There are no accommodations to take care of these older children.

There is no money to pay for education or health needs or housing. Many end up on the street. Or that is what I have been told.

There recently was a story about a young Chinese boy who actually had gotten separated from his family while traveling. The authorities did not know what to do with him so they took him to the local orphanage and a US family adopted him. When his US family took him back, they found a lot of holes in the story that the Chinese family told. I believe he returned to the US with his adoptive family.

My girls were left as infants. I know where they were left. Or I know the story I have been told.

Somewhere there is a biological mother and father. I don't know if they are alive or where they are. I do not know the circumstances surrounding their decisions.

Right now Annabel is going through a tough time. She gets as close to me as she possibly can but the minute I try to reciprocate, she winces. She is struggling to learn what she needs to at school and shocks me at her grasp of math. Sometimes I think her insides must feel like electric bolt coursing through her body as I see the nervousness on the outside. Today at church there was simply no way she could hold still. Is it biological and can be corrected or is she just nervous? Or ill at ease?

Tonight I feel very lacking. I know we will have to travel back to China to try to answer these questions but not sure that I really want to know the answers.

I don't know if they will want to try to find answers or not.

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